Retired Black Congressman To Be Honored By Bar Assn
CHICAGO, Nov. 10, 2009 – The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes with a 2010 Spirit of Excellence Award. Stokes was selected for his dedication to ensuring racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.
“Congressman Stokes has broken down many barriers, first as the state of Ohio’s first African American member of Congress, then as the first African American member of the Committee on Appropriations, and later as a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. His efforts to ensure diversity in the legal profession are a natural extension of his commitment to social justice, regardless of race or ethnicity. And as a man of action, and not just words, he serves as a living example to others that people of color can assume roles of leadership in the legal profession,” said Fred Alvarez of Palo Alto, Calif., commission chair.
The commission will present the award to Stokes Feb. 3 during the 2010 ABA Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Stokes is currently senior counsel at Squire, Sanders and Dempsey LLP, Washington, D.C. He focuses his practice on governmental relations at the federal level.
Stokes and his brother Carl were raised in a Cleveland housing project by their young, widowed mother. As a young man, Stokes helped to support his family financially with various jobs, including delivering newspapers and shining shoes. Later, as a soldier during World War II, he served in a segregated army. These experiences contributed to Stokes’ personal mission to ensure social justice for all, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Upon his return home from the army, Stokes worked his way through Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Marshall Law School. He and his brother founded one of Cleveland’s first African American law firms. Stokes served 15 consecutive terms in the U.S. Congress, representing the Eleventh Congressional District of Ohio, before retiring in 1999.
Stokes has been instrumental in the lives of many law students. The Louis Stokes Scholarship, which has helped nearly 80 minority students fund their law school education.
Stokes has been the recipient of countless honors. They include Ebony Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Black Americans/Black Achievement Award, the William L. Dawson Award from the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Distinguished Service Award and recognition from the Central High School Hall of Fame. Additionally, his community contributions are recognized with several naming honors, including the Louis Stokes Laboratories on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, the Louis Stokes Telecommunications Center at Cuyahoga Community College, the Carl andLouis Stokes Central Academy in Cleveland, and the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Building at Howard University. Stokes is also the recipient of 26 honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities.
The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is a catalyst to change the legal profession to reflect the society it serves. It helps racially and ethnically diverse lawyers advance their careers and standing in the profession. Its leadership, programs and information help the profession understand and eliminate racism, bigotry and discrimination. The commission works to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession, and thus enrich it.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
American Bar Association, 321 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654-7598 United States